Okay let me start off with a bit of drooling. This book has a beautiful cover. The formatting inside with the Initial is a lovely curly font. There has been obvious care been taken in how this is all put together.
I wouldn't completely class this as erotica but the heat level is certainly there. Which anyone could have figured out as it does start with a courtesan with a client in the first chapter. The one thing the author did right that I often complain when it comes to stories that focus on the sex is lazy writing. This author is not a lazy writer. She takes her time to build up the tension and she lets you get to know the characters before getting technical in the details.
The whole 'born to be courtesan' bugs me but I blame Sharon Green for that. Also why not have it as a skill that someone worked hard to get instead of attributing it to some quirk of fate and genetic lottery. It annoys me because it traps the characters in their role. This is wrong as anyone can seek beyond who they are genetically meant to be. That is the excuse racists and sexists use to justify why people can't be part of their world. Despite these objections this novel does pass the Bechdel test and manages to do that in the first chapter.
This book reminded me of others like Gail Dayton's Rose series and Gena Showalter but mostly it brought to mind Jacqueline Carey. All of these authors are happy to have a lot of sex in their stories but they also don't stint on character building or world building.
I did skip a bit as the heat level was a little too much for me. There is certainly more there than just romantic hook ups as there is invasions, betrayal. People who are not who they seem to be. The cast is massive and the story convoluted.
I give this a four stars. Half a star off because of the undercurrent of genetic elitism that bother me. A little more off for too much heat and a little more off because there is really a massive cast. There is a reason I haven't read Game of Thrones. I know sacrilegious. There is certainly a lot there for people to love.